Bedford Blues Academy vs Cambridge U21
The Blues Academy lost narrowly to an older, more physical, Cambridge U21 XV by 22pts – 15, in persistent rain at Goldington Road. With the scores level at 7pts all at half time, Bedford were disappointed not to have taken a half time lead when they missed a number of first half scoring opportunities. Although Cambridge, with ten Bedford Academy “old boys” in their ranks, had the edge up front for most of the game, and deserved their narrow win, the younger Bedford side will have taken encouragement from their performance.
Cambridge started well and, after a series of scrums close to the Bedford line, moved the ball to allow blind side wing Dan Brotherton, to come inside and take a ball off fly half Ben Penfold to score under the posts. Penfold converted, and Cambridge were 7pts up. Bedford hit straight back from the kick off when they forced a lineout in the Cambridge corner; the lineout was driven and the ball moved to fly half Joe Tarrant who put centre Dan Hope in under the posts; Tarrant converted; 7pts all. Both sides had difficulty controlling the ball in the heavy rain. Cambridge put the Blues under pressure up front but Bedford had a number of try scoring opportunities they missed. The scores remained level at half time.
Bedford took the lead with a penalty from Tarrant just after half time. Cambridge hit back with a good try from centre Jordan Husband, with the Blues defence stretched, and with a penalty try awarded for a scrum offence; Penfold converted the penalty try and Cambridge went 19pts – 10 ahead with 25 minutes to go. Bedford hit back with a good counter attack from inside their own half with winger Luke Hibberd taking the chance well to score in the corner to bring the scores to 19pts – 15. Cambridge sealed the win with a Penfold penalty to end the game 22pts – 15 ahead.
Blues’ Academy Director Denis Ormesher said ... “Cambridge had some quality players and it was good to welcome back so many "old boys" of the Blues Academy. Both sides did well in the non-stop rain, and we were pleased with the Blues performance. This was a tough physical game and good learning for our youngsters. Playing against older players showed them the level of physicality they need to aim for."
Bedford: Will Dyer, Josh Taylor, Matt Collins, Ben Latimer, Ben Patterson, Kennet O’Neill (capt), Joe Bercis, Ryan Brett-Williams: Kieran Duffin, Joe Tarrant; Chris Lord, Dan Hope (v.capt), George Elliott, Mike Diponio; Freddie Henley-Hunter; Subs: Tom Webb, Josh Pieterse, Joe Foreman, Matt Norfolk-Clarke, Bradley Scharff, Reece Lane, Dan Martin, Ben Calder, Cameron Gregory-Ring, Harry Chater, Luke Hibberd:
Cambridge U21 XV: Calum Miller, James Palmer (capt), Curtis Weaver, Seb Clarke, Gareth Baxter, Louis Rawlings, Bry White, Joe Collingham; Jack Daly, Ben Penfold; De la Rey Veenendaal, Harry Key, Jordan Husband, Dan Brotherton; Nathan Donnachie: Subs: Matt Dunn, Rhys Roberts, Mike Brennan, Seb Howarth: